Monday, June 1, 2015

Was Stalin Bulimic?

                                       U.S Signal Corps
Was Stalin bulimic? Does that explain his purges? Out of the frying pan and into the fire is the expression, but it may seem like a long road from the toilet to the gulag. But who is to say how the functioning of the GI tract and the varying sphincters of the body affect the creation of personality. Back in 2005 Paul Starobin wrote an essay in The Atlantic called “The Accidental Autocrat” about another Russian leader, Vladimir Putin. Starobin attributed some of the games Putin plays on the stage of history to morphological singularities. Starobin cites Brenda L Connors “a certified ' 'movement analyst’" at the Naval War college to show that “he seems to lack what is called contra-lateral movement and instead tends to move in a head-to-tail patern, like a fish or reptile." Starobin quotes Connors to the effect that reptiles “patrol their borders, and if an alien enters, lunge reflexively.” Like reptiles Putin is particularly border conscious. Starobin is more skeptical about Connors’ irredentist hypothesis that Putin’s “instinct to make himself whole is mirrored in his imperative to keep Russian from breaking up.” However, it would be interesting to look at whether Stalin suffered from some grave eating disorder which became the only tool available for him to deal with his paranoia. It’s easy to test the DNA from the remains of a dying person and famously Einstein’s brain was preserved in formaldehyde, but it’s impossible to get a stool sample from a corpse and even if Stalin had ever seen a GI guy for any of his complaints, it would take a pretty wily researcher to attain those records. But it’s not hard to imagine Stalin gorging himself on Chicken Kiev at some state dinner and stealthily going off to the bathroom, sticking his finger down his throat and later ordering the elimination of a good portion of the attendees.

1 comment:

  1. I love this piece, especially the last line, which not only is clever but pays it all off.


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